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What's is your favorite 38 Super powder?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by rbernie, Oct 7, 2012.

  1. rbernie

    rbernie Well-Known Member

    I'm fixing to start loading for 38 Super after a 20+ year hiatus, and it seems as if I have no suitable powders on hand. If I have to buy into a new powder, I'm open to suggestions.

    I'm interested in decent velocities using 115gr to 125gr jacketed bullets - I see no sense in shooting 9x19 velocities in such expensive brass. :)
  2. grendelbane

    grendelbane Well-Known Member

    I started out with Unique, about 30 years ago. At some point I started using Power Pistol. Last time I loaded any, I used Longshot.

    The Finnish VV powders have a lot of users, but I have no experience with them.

    Since I don't hot rod the .38 Super any longer, I am more than content with the Longshot loads. Power Pistol is good, but flashy.

    If maximum velocity at reasonable pressure is your goal, look at the VV powders.
  3. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    3N37 is superb for pushing a 124 Gr plated (Berrys 125 Gr HBRN-TP) or a 125 Gr jacketed bullet to a little over 1300 FPS. I have shot them at up to 1400 FPS with it.

    True Blue will work, as well as Longshot, but I settled on 3N37 and a 1300+ FPS load.

    As you get hotter with the .38 Super, you can get some primer smear. the 3N37 load at 1300 FPS minimizes it. At least in my SA .38 Super.
  4. noylj

    noylj Well-Known Member

    This may not be true for you, but I find my .38 Supers are quite a bit more accurate than my 9x19s, so I am happy shooting light target loads in them.
    I find 0.356-0.357" jacketed bullets are the most accurate.
    121-135gn bullets are the most accurate.
    L-SWCs are more accurate than other lead designs.
    JHPs are more accurate than other jacketed designs.
    Zero 121gn 0.356 (actually 0.3555" for the batch I have) are about the most accurate of all bullets tested, with the Montana Gold 124gn JHP close.
    The Hornady 140gn "Cowboy" L-RNFP is surprising accurate at low to mid-range loads. The 0.358" diameter keeps leading to almost nil in all my guns, including the comps.
    With 121-125gn jacketed bullets:
    5.9-6.5 gn is quite accurate.
    6.5-7.4gn of Herco is good.
    8.3-8.6gn 540/HS6 is good.
    8.5-9.2gn 571/HS7 is very good.
    5.6-5.8gn Silhouette is quite accurate.
    6.5-6.8gn Silhouette is quite accurate (mid-range?)
    7.3-7.5gn Silhouette is quite accurate (near full power?)
    7.7-8.3gn True Blue is accurate
    5.5-5.9gn WSF is accurate, with 5.9gn being "best" with this powder
    If I wanted to shoot full power, I would look first at Silhouette and True Blue. If I needed more power, I would go to VV N105.
  5. rbernie

    rbernie Well-Known Member

    It's a bit of a veer, but - can you really get 1350fps from a Berry's bullet without it shedding its coating?
  6. Mac Attack

    Mac Attack Well-Known Member

    Back in the 90's my favorite was AA#7.
  7. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    When HS-7 was still available it was the hands down best powder for the .357 Sig IMO. Now that it's gone HS-6 is also a good choice. If you can't find HS-6 Longshot isn't a bad choice either.
  8. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    I would not try it with their standard bullet, but the thicker plating bullet I noted will take it, at least in my gun, and that barrel isn't the smoothest in the world.
  9. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Well-Known Member

    I shoot the Berry's 124 gr. RNFP in my 357 Sig at a little over 1,300 fps without any problems. However, at 1,450+ fps they will tumble and take out the right skyscreen strut on your chronograph....................

    I also use this bullet in my .38 Super.

    Hope this helps.

  10. PO2Hammer

    PO2Hammer Well-Known Member

    Sr 7625
  11. superbee922

    superbee922 Member

    Longshot with Berry's plated 124 grain 9 mm. HP.

    I wouldn't mind trying some of the VV powders, but they are never available in my area and they seem expensive.
  12. squarles67

    squarles67 Well-Known Member

    I've had good luck with Blue Dot and Power Pistol. Power Pistol gives me single digit Standard Deviations.

    I shoot alot of the 125g Hornady HAP bullets, reasonably priced and they shoot well for me.
  13. mavracer

    mavracer Well-Known Member

    I use Hodgdon Longshot it also works well in 10mm.
  14. crazysccrmd

    crazysccrmd Well-Known Member

    Can anyone post a light (1000fps or lower) load using power pistol? I'm loading for 38 Auto/ACP which is the same cartridge but at lower pressure/velocity. Unfortunately there is a huge lack of info available for it.
  15. noylj

    noylj Well-Known Member

    crazysccrmd: About all you'll find for .38 Auto are Bullseye, Red Dot, 700-X, and Unique. I doubt if any manual company feels any desire to load new powders in that old and dead cartridge. Then, at the cartridge's working pressure, Power Pistol is not going to be a "first choice" any way.
    If I wanted to load that cartridge, I would work up loads with Red Dot, AA2, 231/HP38, and Solo 1000. Those are really well-behaved powders that are easy to work with.
    You'll have to work up your own loads or find a .38 Auto forum for like-minded people.
  16. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Well-Known Member

    Currently it is SR4756 and I am making up loads by the thousands with it. As I make them though I am debating trying something a bit different.

    I have had good luck with Unique also.

    I shoot pretty much only lead 135 grn LRN's though.
  17. rbernie

    rbernie Well-Known Member

    I've got a friend who recommends Blue Dot - anyone tried it?
  18. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    No reason it would not work well, but I have not tried it. Maybe I'll try a few.
  19. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Well-Known Member

    I have not played with Blue Dot and the Super myself. It should be fine as the powder speed is in the useable band.
  20. squarles67

    squarles67 Well-Known Member

    I've had good luck with Blue Dot, for me it doesn't seem as snappy as power pistol and gives similar velocities. Alliant lists 9.2 as the max with a Speer 124 GDHP.

    I've gone as high as 8.0 behind a 125 HAP and that gave me 1258 fps out of a 5" Colt bbl. I've got some loaded with more but haven't had a chance to test them yet.

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